You are on page 1of 8

lA1^!

^L Y1
lV1 b1A^ 11^ AL^! ^!b
bj
btcVc Ylums
Central Diagnostic Team Coordinator
Performance Projects Department
Potomac Electric Power Company
und
HOnud UrundOn
Senior Engineer
Power Technologies, Incorporated
Schenectady, New York
Steve Williams graduated from George
Washington University in 1977, with a
B. S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.
He is a Registered Professional Engineer
in the State of Maryland and a member of
ASME.
He has been employed with Potomac
Electric Power Company for 16years. For
the past seven years, Mr. Williams has
, , ,
been in charge of the Central Diagnostic

Team which is responsible for perforance
testing and diagnostics of steam turbines and auxiliary equip
ment. He also spent several years working at Chalk Point and
Benning Generating Stations as a Plant Performance Engineer.
Mr. Williams has been actively involved in the EPRI project
to evaluat
,
e Power Plant Perforance Instrumentation Systems
at PEPCo s Morgantown Generting Station.
Ronald E. Brandon is a Senior Engi
neer with Power Technologies, Incorpo
rted in Schenectady, New York. Mr.
Brandon graduated with a B. S. degree in
Mechanical Engineering from MIT. He
was formerly with General Electric.
Since joining PTI, he has participated
in a wide variety of thermal plant optimi
zation projects. He has also refined his
long standing specially regarding per
formance problems of steam turbines.
This work entails diagnosis of internal steam path problems
from test results; careful inspection of disassembled turbines;
analyses identifying root causes of poor effciency; economically
sound recommendations for repair; and suggestions for im
proved operating practices to prevent recurrence of the deduced
losses.
Mr. Brandon is an instructor in PTI courses dealing with
power plant performance and steam turbine optimization
techniques.
In the course of his professional work, Mr. Brandon has been
awarded eight patents. He is a Registered Professional Engineer
in the State of New York, and a Senior Member of ASME. He
has a number of professional publications.
77
ABSTRACT
The losses in turbine performance due to excessive leakages
in the labyrinth seals can result in significant heat rate degrada
tion to the turbine cycle. The modified packing arrangement de
scr be helps e iminate the rubs that occur during startups,
which \5 the maJor cause of excessive clearance.
.
This packing was first installed at two utility generating sta
tions. The performance of these units were monitored to
evaluate the packing and these results are discussed in detail.
INTRODUCTION
Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has historically
had problems maintaining proper clearances in their steam tur
bine seals. This has resulted in significant degradation to turbine
eficiency and unit performance. The packing modification in
stalled on the Dickerson Unit and later on the Chalk Point Unit
has resulted in better control of steam seal leakage. This has re
sulted in signifcant improvement in unit performance which are
described in detail herein.
TURBINE PACKING
A turbine is designed to convert the potential energy in steam
into kinetic energy to produce usefl work. In order to obtain
this kinetic energy, high diferential pressures are present
throughout the turbine to accelerate the steam through the
numerous turbine nozzles. The steam will attempt to take any
path it can find into the lower pressure chambers of the turbine.
Unfortunately, leakage paths around the turbine nozzles result
in a loss of kinetic energy, and often result in an even greater
loss where it disturbs the flow path upon reentry into the lower
pressure section. The manufacturer attempts to control the leak
age very closely, in order to maintain good turbine performance.
The ba

ic method used by the turbine manufacturer in sealing


the rotatmg shaft from the stationary parts of U turbine uses
spring-backed labyrinth packings. These packings restrict the
amount of steam leakage fow for a given pressure drop. The
teeth of these packings are arranged in a highow manner simi
l

r to that shown in Figure 1. This design causes the steam pas


smg through the packing to encounter the back of the next tooth
resulting in eddies, which destroys the kinetic energy of the
steam. The steam must then accelerate pass the next tooth and
this process continues through all the packing teeth which
considerably restricts the amount of flow passed for a given
clearance.
78 PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTEENTH TURBO MACHINERY SYMPOSIUM
Figure 1. Thrbine Packing-Labyrinth Seal.
The packing ring holds the teeth in proper position relative
to the sha and usually has four or more teeth per ring. The
clearance of the packing is determined upon assembly, by appro
priate machining of the packing ring shoulder or the tooth
length. This clearance is maintained by the spring clip which
holds the packing ring shoulder against the ring holder. Design
clearance is approximately 0. 001 in per inch of shaft diameter.
This is normally 0. 030 in for a typical turbine design. It is also
important to maintain the sharp edge on the tooth to minimize
the leakage efect.
The packing ring (Figure 2 ) consist of several segments
around the circumference which allows the packings to move in
dependently, while the spring clips maintain a tight shoulder fit.
Figure Z. Packing Ring.
The fow of steam that passes the packing is calculated by Mar
tin's formula Equation (1) .
where
fow
fow constant
efective area
upstream pressure
(1)
`I
upstream specific volume
B a fnction of the number of teeth and the
downstream to upstream pressure ratio
Efective area clearance ^ diameter ^ pi (2 )
Ater the turbine is designed and built it is normally recog
nized that the only remaining controllable parameter is the shaf
clearance. Holding all parameters constant, except clearance
and combining Equations (1) and (2 ) reduces Martin's formula
to:
Leakage fow constant ^ clearance (3)
Using Equation (3) , it becomes clear that if the clearances are
doubled then so is the leakage flow. The problem is made worse
if the sharp edge packing tooth is blunted, resulting in even
larger fows due to increasing the fow coefcient (normally re
fected by a change in k) .
PROBLEM
The ability to maintain tight clearances at Dickerson has al
ways been a problem as it is in most other turbines. During start
up, the turbine is susceptible to vibration as the rotor is brought
through its critical speeds. The end bearing vibration may not
be excessive, but the center span is subject to large defection
due to the long lengths of unsupported shat. Dickerson units
have no shaft prewarming capabilities, which adds to the shaft
bowing problem.
The inner shells, diaphragm and packing boxes which hold
the stationary packing rings are subjected to large temperature
diferentials during startup. This condition will result in the nor
mally round packing ring taking on an egg shape. This condition
can lead to distorted clearances which may result in a packing
rub.
The manufacturer designs the packing segments and spring
clips to move if a shat rub occurs. This design is intended to save
the turbine shaf from excessive cutting, but will not prevent
damage to the relatively soft packing teeth. The resulting condi
tion of shaft rubbing consequentially produces heat, possibly
bowing the shaf, increasing the intensity of the rubbing, caus
ing increasing clearance and also causing the packing teeth to
become somewhat embrittled which makes them susceptible to
breakage and even larger clearances.
The bowed rotor condition rubs the labyrinth packings and
also the tip seals designed to prevent leakage around the rotating
buckets. This tip seal leakage loss often exceeds the losses found
in the labyrinth packing.
If packing clearances could be opened at startup and closed
during normal load operation most severe packing rubs could be
avoided.
MODIFIED DESIGN
The modification to the Dickerson Unit was designed to ac
complish the objective of increased clearance at startup and
tight clearance at full load. The original packing design was feld
modified to accomplish this objective during the Fall 1986
overhaul.
The original rings of packing are shown in Figure 2 with the
spring clips inserted. The major change required is to remove
the spring clips, which force the packing ring toward the shaf
and install coil springs which force the packing rings away from
the shaft (Figure 3 ) . The springs size and depth of the holes
drilled in the packing rings are predetermined based on the ex
pected pressures around the packing.
OPERATING EXPERIENCE WITH IMPROVED STEAM TURBINE PACKING RINGS 79
Figure 3. Modifwd Packing.
The basic theory used in modifing the packing is that the
pressure forces behind the packing increases with the units'
fowrate and can be used to overcome the spring and friction
forces acting on the individual packing segments. By proper de
sign of the coil springs, the pressure forces acting on the packing
can be utilized to cause the packing to move fom a large clearance
to a small clearance at a predetermined flow condition that is
known to be beyond the condition where severe rubbing is likely
to occur. This method then determines the unit load at which the
packing rings close and the tight clearances are established.
The static pressure forces acting on the cross section of pack
ing are shown in Figure 4. By using a vector diagram similar to
that in Figure 5 , the forces can be calculated for a given load and
the springs sized to balance the upward and downward forces.
This oversimplifes the problem, since the friction forces act
against the closing force. The determination of the friction coef-
Figure 4. Pressure Forces.
CLOSING FORCES >OPENING FORCES
Figure 5. Vector Diagrm.
fcients was part of the preliminary research work partially spon
sored by the Department of Energy. Also, the pressure drop
across the packing teeth from P1 to P2 is somewhat non-linear
and further complicates the analysis.
The packings are held open until the predetermined unit fow
(fve to twenty percent) is obtained. The open clearance of ap
proximately 0. 150 in is determined by the back of the tooth ring
fit with the housing. This is sufcient to avoid normal startup
problems and at the predetermined fow the packings close to
normal running clearances of 0. 02 5 in.
The pressure forces to close the packings were felt to be mar
ginal on numerous rings. To resolve this problem, the design re
quired removal of several of the last short teeth, and this re
sulted in less force holding the packing open (Figure 6). Fewer
packing teeth resulted in increased leakage flow, but are far
ofset by the improved clearances being maintained.
PRESS. PRESS.
Pl Z
Pl
OPENING FORCE WITH LAST TOOTH
|
Pl
OPENING FORCE WJ LAST TOOTH
Figure 6. Effect of Tooth Removal.
PRELIMINARY TEST
The new packing design was developed and patented by
Ronald Brandon, of Power Technologies, Incorporated. The pre
liminary work was sponsored by the Department of Energy and
New York State Energy Research, which included test work on
a prototype packing assembly, followed by installation in a boiler
feed pump turbine at Niagara Mohawk.
Preliminary test work included cycling studies for reliability
and development of the friction coefcients. Aer the prelimi
nary investigation was completed the decision was made by the
utility company to install the packing in the Dickerson Unit dur
ing the Falll986 overhaul.
PERFORMANCE FACTORS
A variety of benefts were expected to result fom the efects
of the improved packing. These included:
Decreased stage packing leakage. This creates a direct im
provement on the high pressure (HP) or intermediate pressure
(IP) turbine section efciency.
Decreased tip (or shroud) leakage. This beneft results fom
the avoidance of bowed rotors (normally caused by packing rubs)
8 0 PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTEENTH TURBO MACHINERY SYMPOSIUM
that result in damaged tip seals. This saving can be expected to
even exceed the benefits of the improved diaphragm packing
clearance.
Decreased (number two packing) ^Z leakage flow. Flow
leaking through this critical six iings of packing which separates
the first high pressure stage from the frst reheat stage (Figure
7) , will bypass all but the first HP stages, causing direct kilowatt
(kW) losses. In addition, the leakage flow will reduce the IP sec
tion bowl enthalpy with a resulting reduction of reheat (RH) sec
tion available energy. This latter loss can often be about 50 per
cent as big as the HP loss.
Increased frst stage shell pressure. It is common to fnd the
turbine first stage shell pressure lower than design by from fve
to ffeen percent. This has the efect of taking energy of the rel
atively eficient later HP stages and putting more energy on the
first stage (the least efcient stage) . The added energy drops the
already low first stage eficiency even lower. It was expected that
the improved packing would improve first stage shell pressure
to be closer to design values.
Decreased excess fow capacity. Excessive leakage has a sec
ondary efect of increasing the turbine fow capacity. While this
may have some side benefits, it also causes some bad HP efi
ciency efects across the load range by requiring increased
throttling of control valves for any normal level of flow. This
causes signifcantly poorer HP section efciency. Note that
where the excess flow capacity is of value, it may still be avail
able by way of increased initial pressure -fve percent overpres
sure being commonly acceptable on most turbines.
INSTALLATION
The modified packing was installed in the N-2 packing and in
all the HP- IP diaphragm packings (Figure 7) . This included
seven diaphragm iings in the HP, fve diaphragm rings in the
IP, and six N- 2 rings. The rings were being replaced as a part of
the Dickerson Unit 3 overhaul; therefore, the cost did not in
clude the rings which were standard packing. Additional cost in
cluded the purchase of the springs, machining the spring holes,
lapping the seal joint and cutting slots to assure the back of the
packing was pressurized. The field work involved cutting the
teeth and shoulders to obtain the desired closed clearances. This
is a normal company overhaul procedure used with stationary
packing.
lH1HL
YLYtb
Figure 7. Turbine Cross Section.
/YtH
ONLINE ANALYSIS
The utility company decided to conduct online performance
monitoiing to evaluate the new packing design. Steam pressures
and temperatures were being monitored around the HP and 1
turbines and the data was stored on a desktop computer.
The unit was continuously monitored through the end of
1987, and includes several startups which exercised the packing
opened and closed. The unit was also tested under controlled
conditions using precision instrumentation to ver the results
obtained with the on-line monitor.
PERFORMANCE RESULTS
MONTHLY FUEL HEAT RATES
The l2 month running unit heat rate averages for the three
Dickerson units is shown in Figure 8. Unit 3 , with the improved
packing, shows a consistent improvement, which is expected to
level of at about 200 BtukWh. Most of this diference is credi
ted to the improved packing, but other improvements made dur
ing the inspection peiiod also contributed to the improvement.
9900

| U
< |
O
C 9700
| l
< C
L |
D
9500
.
L U
7 >
U
9300
MONTH
Figure 8. 1987 Monthly Fuel Heat Rate.
HP SHAFTILP SHAFT MEGAWATTS
The Dickerson units are cross compound. Therefore, a com
parison of HP shaft to low pressure (LP) shaft output ratio can
be made after correcting for standard conditions. The following
results have been obtained.
Date
Design
July 85 (pre- overhaul)
December 86 (post-overhaul)
June87
November87
Megawatt Ratio
1. 045
0. 97
1. 046
1. 040
1. 055
This ratio is a good indicator that the HP- IP performance is
being maintained. It is signifcantly better than the pre- overhaul
ratio of 0. 97. For a given throttle flow rate, the HPIIP Y out
put is up by about 5000 kW
HIGH PRESSURE TURBINE EFFICIENCY
A plot of HP turbine eficiency, (taken at number four control
valve crack point) over the twelve months test period since the
OPERATING EXPERIENCE WITH IMPROVED STEAM TURBINE PACKING RINGS 81
overhaul is presented in Figure 9 . The 81.5 percent efciency
calculated shortly after startup is 1. 5 percentage points higher
than the best eficiency ever obtained on any Dickerson Unit in
the last seven years.
do
L
BJ
L
L
L
dI

-~
O
C
1J

11
o
DATA TAKEN AT 1+ VALVE POINT
-

M 'O
F
P P P P P
f --
C
f L L O U <
~ CM C C ~ r C r
v ~ C ~
O L P C C
~ r
0 o0 IU0 Io0 U0 b0 J00 Jo0 400
ELAPSED TIME IN DAYS
SINCE THE OVERHAUL
Figure 9. High Pressure Turbine Eficiencu Trend.
Unit 3 HP turbine has degraded 2% percentage points since
the overhaul. The most likelv cause of the degradation is due to
weld head damage, depositand possibly some erosion. Based
on previous overhaul inspections, not all of the degradation can
be assumed to be due to the above mentioned items, so some
degradation must be due to packing and excess seal leakage.
How much is indeterminable. It should be noted that the Bran
don design is fr packings only, therefore, spill strips are still vul
nerable to shaft rubbing, although to a lesser degree. A plot of
the June 1987 enthalpy drop test and a turbine test run in 1985
is depicted in Figure 10. As stated earlier, the turbine efciency
has dropped since the startup in October, but it is still above the
198.5 turbine per>rmance level. The design eficiency curve is
a valve best point type curve and, therefre, it does not show
the valve loops as the test data shows.
INTERMEDIATE PRESSURE TURBINE
EFFICIENCY
Trend data was found to be misleading in evaluating the IP
turbine performance. This is a result of poor instrumentation
86
Bi

77
L
L
O
73
L
I
|
69
L

66
87 TL
.-" "
*<
*~ * B6 TEST
e'
*7
r
'
e
Z
T
1OO 6OO 8OO
T 1
CALCULATED MAIN STEAM FLOW-KLB/HR
Figure 10. HP Eficiency Test.
and nonsteadv state conditions. As a result, a control l ed test
was conducte using calibrated resistance temperature detec
tors (RTDs) . Apparent IP turbine eficiencies were calculated
and are shown in Figure 11.
95
J+
J
JZ
{TIME SINCE OVERHAUL)

TEST
( 9 YR.)
'
.
\
`
'" (5 MONTHS)
- TEST
.
\ r
J1

*
90
dJ
Oo
(MODIFIED PACKING)
200 300 9
Figure 11. Apparent IP Tbine Eficiency.
Apparent IP eficiency is calculated fom the hot reheat to the
crossover state points and includes the afet of the relatively
cold N- 2 packing leakage on the turbine efciency. Three IP ef
fciency curves are compared in Figure 11. The post overhaul
1981 test shows the level obtained after fve months of operation,
while the 1985 data was obtained four years later. The rise in the
efciency during this period indicates the amount of N-2 pack
ing leakage had significantly increased. The 1987 data obtained
after the packing modification was installed, indicates the leak
age is significantly lower than the 1981 results. This is a good in
dicator that the N - 2 packing clearances are tighter than the 1981
overhaul clearances.
FIRST STAGE HP SHELL PRESSURE
First stage shell pressure will normally remain constant for a
given throttle flowrate. If the pressure changes, it indicates a
change in flow passing area, either the second stage diaphragm,
diaphragm packing or the N- 2 packing. This pressure has been
trended since the packing modifcation and shows no sign of de
gradation in the 12 months of operation, further it is equal to
manufacturer design value which strongly suggests design value
bypass leakage. Previous testing showed the frst stage pressure
was 6.5 percent low.
N-2 PACKING RAIO MONITOR
A somewhat unique approach to monitoring the ^-X packing
determines the ratio of clearances before the blowdown divided
the clearances after the blowdown. This requires pressures and
temperature measurements in the blowdown line.
82 PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTEENTH TURBO MACHINERY SYMPOSIUM
A plot of this data is presented in Figure 12 and step changes
are shown at low load that could be a result of the packing open
ing. A more thorough investigation revealed that the clearance
ratio change is correlated to the temperature in the blowdown
pipe which drops of signifcantly at low loads. (Figure 13) This
phenomenon is a result of temperature diferences between the
first stage shell and the IP bowl which results in inner shell dis
tortion. Th
e
first stage temperature changes significantly at low
loads. The efect has been seen on units with packing boxes and
with integral inner shell packing holders similar to Dickerson.
This problem is not unique to the modifed packing design.
.
C
~
|
/' ~ 1.0
O
O
1500

"

u
L
L
L

N2 PKG
1
120
CLR. RATIO
|
_ 900

U
. ~
.8

.
L
U

L
d
DU
0 2 4 D
ELAPSED TIME - HR
Figure J. Packing Clearance Ratio.
U
l
u
O
110
1.2
f 1020
L

|
O
C
.
C

<

780 B
C
C
D
C
700 .
u
O

0
X

^
X
bLWJWd_
TEMP.
~
2 4

r
f
D
ELAPSED TIME - HR.
Figure 13. Temperture/Clearance Ratio.
STARTUP MONITOR
C
~
|
-1.8

u
L

l
<
,D
u
.
L
.0.4
U

L
0.2
d
8
The N- 2 packing ratio was monitored during startup to ob
serve the pressure changes that would indicate the packing is
closing. The expected results should be six unique steps as a re
sult of each of the six N -2 packing rings closing. The data in Fig
ure 14 were taken during a start- up of Dickerson Unit No. 3. The
changes in packing ratio are indicative that the packing is closing
as the unit is loaded. The number of step changes resulting from
C 5 100
~
|

u
L

J
e
Z
B
C
M
#
50
.
u
U
.

f"
L
f
L U

|
~
1
U
L
d
U
0
START UP TIME - HR .
Figure 14. Startup Packing Clearance.
packing closures is somewhat interpretative but the on- line
clearance ratio does indicate that all packings are closed.
CHALK POINT UNIT
The packing modifcation was installed in Chalk Point Unit 1
during the major overhaul during the Fall 1987. The unit is a
supercritical, double reheat, tandem compound turbine. The
primary turbine was overhauled and the modied packings
were installed in the N- 2 packing and the HP turbine and sec
ond reheat primary IP turbine diaphragms.
The improvement in pre and post overhaul test of the HP tur
bine is shown in Figure 15 . The gain in efciency is approxi
mately 7. 7 percentage points and results in an improved heat
rate of 110 BtukWh.
1000 1400 1800 2200
1ST STAGE PRESSURE
Figure 15. Chalk Point HP Turbine Effciency.
2600
The primary second IP turbine efciency improvement is
shown in Figure 16. The improvement in actual eficiency of 5 . 5
percentage points results in a 5 3 B tu/kWh heat rate improve
ment. The diference in actual and apparent eficiency of 11. 5
percent prior to the overhaul and 3 . 5 percent after the overhaul
shows a dramatic decrease in the N- 2 packing fow. The esti
mated packing fows at fll load are 160,000 lblr prior to the
overhaul and 48,000 lblhr ater the overhaul. This reduction in
packing flow results in a 120 Btu/kWh improvement in heat rate.
OPERATING EXPERIENCE WITH IMPROVED STEAM TURBINE PACKING RINGS 83
I00
J
L
~ M
PRE-OVERHAUL APPARENT
L
J
Z ~4
L
O POST OVERHAUL APPAR
'
hT
D
EIGN

d6

POST OVERHAUL ACTUAL


L
t
d4
d0 PRE-OVERHAUL ACTUAL
;
I000 I400 I6UU 00 0U
1ST STAGE PRESSURE
Figure 16. Primary Second IP Turbine Efciency.
The overall improvement in performance at Chalk Point Unit
1 is 283 BtuWh. Based on the overhaul inspection of repairs,
approximately 2 40 BtukWh is due to the reduction of tip seal
and packing leakage losses. The remainder is the result of steam
path repairs.
CONCLUSION
The results show the new packings have improved the per
formance of Dickerson Unit 3 and Chalk Point Unit 1 signifc
antly. The modifcation cost was minor compared to the ex
pected gains in performance realized on these two units. If the
packings continue to perform over its overhaul cycle as it has to
date, then the pay back in fel savings will be signifcant.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The testing, data analysis and presentation of the results for
Dickerson was developed by Mr. Greg Staggers, a Project En
gineer with Potomac Electric Power Company. The testing, data
analysis and results for Chalk Point were the work Dave
Schnetzler, a Test Engineer with Potomac Electric Power
Company.
84 PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTEENTH TURBO MACHINERY SYMPOSIUM